I think I might be ftm. Everything is getting pretty complicated to me right now, and my dysphoria is just taking me on some crazy roller coaster. I’m pre- everything and haven’t really told many people yet. Is there a support group for this or a doctor I can talk to about starting t? Or any information I can get about this stuff?
Hey Might Be FTM,
First off, I want to thank you for getting in contact with us. Reaching out for support can be tough, especially pre-everything, and we are here to help! Second, I want to acknowledge that I am a cis woman and that this information is an amalgamation of my knowledge and the lived experiences of my trans partner and friends who helped contribute to this. Luckily, Guelph does have some good support systems available and a number of programs that have helped many others and can hopefully help you as well 🙂
At the University of Guelph, we have trans-friendly counsellors that you can meet with to get support if you are transitioning. Suzanne Welstead is recommended, as she has helped others through their transitions as well. If you’re looking for information, check out the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRCGED): they have a large lending library of information around trans issues and transitioning, and compiled the Trans* Access Guelph zine which has a whole bunch of information about trans-friendly services and supports in Guelph, as well as University-specific information such as how to change your name at the University level. You can download it for free online here, or stop by GRCGED (University Center room 107) to request an accessible version.
Another amazing organization that helps trans folks in Guelph is HIV/AIDS Resource and Community Health (ARCH). They offer counselling support, sterile injection supplies if you are taking hormones, sexual health guides and information about your legal rights as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. More information about the services they offer can be found here. ARCH also offers a program called PEARS that matches LGBTQ+ folks together for mentorship–you can specify your matching criteria to be matched with another trans person in Guelph. It is a great way to build community and a support network!
We also have the paTio in Guelph, which is a confidential, non-judgmental group for trans, genderqueer or questioning people. They have a Facebook page where they will post information but if you have specific questions and want to keep things confidential, you can send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are considering beginning to take hormones, you will need to get in contact with a doctor and also an endocrinologist for follow-up blood work. Student Health Services on campus can help you get a referral to an endocrinologist, and can also help do check-ups throughout your transition. You can check out Rainbow Health Ontario’s service directory to see the various trans-friendly doctors in Guelph; however, keep in mind that it doesn’t include everyone yet and the list keeps growing! There is a more comprehensive list compiled by trans folks in Guelph in the Trans* Access Guelph zine mentioned earlier.
Transitioning can be a wonderful, confusing, difficult or even painful process but you don’t have to go through it alone. Building up a strong support network of friends and professional help is very important, and taking care of yourself and your own mental health is key. Remember that every transition and path to transition can be different, and that as long as you are happy and healthy you are on the right track. Thank you for the question, and I hope these resources will help support you and provide the information you are looking for!
UPDATE: There’s a new monthly social meet-up for trans and non-binary folks. Gender Intersect meets the 3rd Monday of every month at the Red Brick Café, 8 Douglas St., at 7 pm.